El-P - Cancer 4 Cure

HipHopDX Editor's Rating:

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Average User Rating:

4.59

39 people have voted.

5 is the most popular ranking.

30 people gave it a perfect five.

Cast your vote »

"Cancer 4 Cure's" essence seems to present itself more as an album for people who've swaddled their lives in the liner notes of Hip Hop music.

"Off that Mobb Deep shit had me saying 'dunny.'" That's Danny Brown, the shrill-strung, wild-haired Detroit rapper who guest spits on the song "Oh Hail No" alongside Crown Heights' unruliest, Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire. Brown's line appears half-way through his verse. It's not as ear-grabbing as, say, his brag about being "Inspector Gadget with the ratchet," but it resonates like a snug key to Cancer 4 Cure, El-P's third solo album. After you pick out the nuggets of Rap nerdery or nostalgia - in this case arcane Queensbridge slang of a certain vintage - the album becomes defined less by the power of its fearsome production and starts to sound more like the lyrical and beat-making musings of a thirty-something Hip Hop junkie.

These sly nods to Rap songs of years past pepper the album: A Camu Tao vocal grab propels "The Full Retard," a piano riff that comes off like a bastard relation to Kool G Rap & DJ Polo's "Road To The Riches" pulses through "Drones Over BKLYN," while horn stabs most memorably heard back during the Bridge Wars pep up the Killer Mike-assisted "Tougher Colder." Lyrically, El's rhymes stay prickly - "I'd sooner wash my dick in acid that ask what you think," he politely offers at one point - but also channels oversized gold rope ambassador Slick Rick to arrogantly advise "lick the balls." There's even a track that, ye olde linguistic roots aside, seems named for a Big Shug 12-inch, "The Jig Is Up."

Sure, you can talk about the usual cliches that are regurgitated in reviews of every El-P project - densely-layered dystopian beats! Sci-fi concepts! A song featuring Paul Banks from Interpol that seems destined to be liked by Indie Rock kids! - but Cancer 4 Cure's essence seems to present itself more as an album for people who've swaddled their lives in the liner notes of Hip Hop music. Elitist as it might seem, it's a Rap album that sounds better if you can name most of the Gang Starr Foundation. Shrug.

88 Comments

  • SqDb

    Regarding El-P's lyrics, from the first track: "I'm a 'Holy Fuck, what did he just utter?' marksman."

  • Lord Tariq

    Should of been a 4 1/2 at least from beginning to end this album is dope

  • Sonny Rene

    This is easily El-P's best solo album to date. The beats are futuristic and funky as per usual but in my opinion El-P has seriously improved as an emcee with his lyrics and delivery over the past 5 years. The features are expertly placed and they all deliver a worthwhile contribution with the exception of Paul Banks on Works Every Time. This album has all the potential to become a classic.

  • Torado

    I really dont understand the buzz, it is an OK album really...

  • GDStubbs

    not entirely through this yet, but enjoying what i've heard so far... enough to write something. review is on some wanna-be pitchfork uselessness. for me, a classic has to function like marvin gaye's "what's going on?" and be >>>PERMANENTLY

  • Klusterfuk

    4/5 but I don't think the reviewer was that good

  • Andrew

    review wasn't bad, it was just basic. I understand what the reviewer was saying. A lot of ppl try to paint El-p as this hipster white boy rapper whose music appeals to ppl who aren't into hip-hop when in reality his music is deeply rooted in old-school hip hop like gang starr and kool g rap. Any way id give this 4.5 stars the first 5 or 6 songs are the best shit ever, the rest of the album is good but not great.

  • ASEE

    This is the worst review I have ever read on this site, and I haven't even heard the record yet.

  • larry

    4/5 seems about right to me.

  • ianism

    decent review. did a good job of not rehashing the 'oh the beats are so unique and grimey' comments you always get when you read El-P reviews. i'd give it 4.5 though

  • mdkeren2

    BELOW on every new video article and basically any new piece of content

  • stevep

    *shrugs i dug the review, dig the album, good stuff man.

  • mr. tibbs

    Cancer 4 Cure grabs you from start to finish. The arrangement is amazing, ever song sounds like a side B of the one before but in a good way. Great album hands down. I bought it, that should say enough.

  • Anonymous

    HEEELL Y EEEZZZ NIKKKAS FINALLY IT HAPPENED - JUST BOUGHT A NEW RIDE - A CAM A RO CONVERTIBLE.GOT APPROVED FOR 26 LARGE. BEEN 5 YRS SINCE IVE GOTTEN SHYT APPROVED, BUT NOW ALL MY CRE DIT ISHH IS GONE. ALL OF IT. IF YOU STRUGGLING WITH THAT CRE DIT HISTORY ISHH, GET RID OF ALL DAT TODAY - CALL THESE PEEPS AT 8--8--8-9-2-7 -3-3-5-6 . . THEY DO AMAZING WORK AND THEY ARE CHEAP AS FUQQ. GOT RID OF ALL MY SHYYT IN NO TIME. MY HOMEBOY WAS IN THE GUTTA TOO, AND HE CLEANER THAN ME NOW-gettin a condo!! Hit em up - THEY WILL HELP U!!

  • Hidden By Leaves

    El & Mike are about to tour these two exceptional pieces of work, don't be a house ninja.

  • Hiii

    Close to R.A.P. music

  • Lyrical Jesus

    Jammed full of introspective, poetic prose (even if quite a few lines don't make sense). Also features many logical, metaphorical, and/or satirical jabs at many of the clownish antics still prominently displayed in the Hip-Hop scene today!! Brilliantly innovative production that sounds fresh and advanced for its time.... 4.5/5

  • bizzalls

    Can we all agree that we're all still wondering what El-P is talking about when he raps? This album is good for the production, and even that isn't AMAZING. It's a lot better than average though. But lyrical content, El P and DEF JUX have always rapped about outlandish shit that never makes sense. Am i wrong?

    • iansim

      it's not so much that it's outlandish, but it's heavily metaphorical, full of references only the dedicated will get, and dense as fuck. this is what makes it hard to follow what they're talking about.

    • bizzalls

      My IQ is 187, bitch.

    • 2Da9thPwr

      What is your IQ?

    • Anonymous

      Outlandish is a good thing, and whether or not it makes sense depends on how "Basic" of a person you are I understand the vast majority of what he's rapping about with no problems.... Aesop is another story, lol, but I never saw what was so hard for people to get about EL-P's rhymes, most of them are metaphors for something going on socially and alot of time they have political or Religous opinions rapped inside them. I dont get whats hard to understand

  • kv

    to the guys hating on the review: what else did you expect from a dude named philip mlynar

  • Pegasus Flow

    Normally I don't read the reviews and go right to the comment section to find out if it's worth while. This time I read the review and remembered why.

  • borris

    This review doesnt make sense, whats Gangstarr got to do with this creative forward thinking album? peace

    • yeltsin

      The whole point is that you know the underground scene and know your hip hop. That's what he means. Someone who doesn't know much about hip hop won't appreciate it as much.

  • Anonymous

    can be contacted at williams.a1990@gmail.com

  • Anonymous

    Yo hiphopdx... Listen to me when I say this, get new writers... I will write album reviews for u and all u have to do is feature two of my songs a month.... u wont have to pay me ANYTHING... because this is just sad guys.... I will come out of pocket and buy the album myself..... This is just embarrassing to call this an album review

  • youngvito79

    Tight beats, wack lyrics...

    • bizzalls

      It's true. What the fuck is El-P talking about when he raps? I literally have no idea what he is saying. Not that I can't hear him, just what he is saying makes no sense for the most part. I agree, production is good but the lyrics are like WTF? But what else do you expect from EL-P, his shit will always be that way.

    • Anonymous

      You probably just cant understand the big words

  • Anonymous

    dope album, worth the wait

  • imme

    I didnt read the comments before my post but it seems most kinda felt the same. If this hasnt been done before, this is the first album that deserves a rereview. Its like a 3 paragraph ramble. El-P deserves more than this, especially after giving me this and rap music with killer mike. THANK YOU EL-P!!!! THANK YOU

  • imme

    This is a weird review, it didnt really tell me anything, it doesnt go into enough detail for an El-p album review. I got nothing out of it. It was 3 paragraphs and the 1st focuses on another rappers verse. Weird. I dont know what to make of it. Luckily Ive heard the album myself already and it is pretty amazing. This and killer mikes albums are getting all my mp3 player attention

  • Scott

    How do you start a review of an album off by mentioning another rapper (with one verse) from one song? Whoever taught this guy how to write is obviously not someone who took journalism. Album of the year as of right now!

  • Vincent H.

    Thank yo guys for your reviews. The one good thing about this website still is that true heads still comment here and I appreciate that because this review was AWFUL. I didn't know whether to get this album until I read all your reviews. The only good thing about this website is the comment section, cause people who aren't total retards with good taste in hip hop usually comment here.

  • gutter man

    album of the year maybe. this and r.a.p music and kollexion and new show and a.g!! review is bad on purpose- it must be. oh wait this is hiphopdx.

  • Anonymous

    Phillip Mlynar , you should get fired. For real,

  • buckeyewu

    Love this album just like I love that Killer Mike R.A.P. Music album.

  • Anonymous

    This is why I rarely look at the reviews on this website, I was hoping for an insight on what to expect from this album before hearing it. Hell, I could write a better review myself. HIP HOP DX, STOP GETTING MONKEY'S TO THROW THEIR SHIT ON YOUR SITE. HIRE SOMEONE WHO'S NOT HELL BENT ON TRYING TO IMPRESS PEOPLE JUST BY NAMING VETERANS. Yeah we know you know some great names but you don't have to remind us, we're hip hop fans too. Also El-P isn't mainstream, anyone who landed here probably knows their shit about hip hop enough to not need a who's who walkthrough of fantastic artists.

  • KayEmPee

    wack-ass review for sure. this guy has no fuckin writing skills, plus he knows shit about music.

  • "Interesting"

    I had to read most of these sentences twice..... "a Rap album that sounds better if you can name most of the members of the Gangstarr Foundation" ...... what does that mean? I can name them...... but what does that have to do with El-P? I hope you don't pay this guy a whole lot.... save the World of Warcraft ad money for somebody that has a clue about music, not to mention the English language....

  • Anonymous

    GARBAGE REVIEW!!!!

  • asher dust

    A 5 All day long!!!

  • harris89

    4.5 easily though

  • polo hova

    Wack ass review man. They should let somebody else review this man. 4 1/2 easy want to give it 5. It's dope. Definitly check it out.

  • Anonymous

    HIP HOP DX SUCKS!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    I got to agree with y'all on that. Bad review, half of it's about Danny Brown's line. And this dudes probably serious. I enjoyed the album. From start to finish.

  • Anonymous

    this isn't the first bad review from PHILLIP MLYNAR. Dude needs to be fired. His reviews are worse than the guy who was plagiarizing

  • futuristik

    yo this review is a stupid piece of shit. yea hiphopdx -- we know yall a bunch of conceited golden era backpackers, obsessed with name dropping and comparing everything to your geezer book of rap lists. u brain dead old fogeys -- u are worse than sheep, yall some sheepfuckers who been had sheeps-disease. as for 'c4c' -- yo this is some real ass shit. yea now he's more white and less wigger, but this is some intelligent shit here. the rapping, he's using mad creative narratives and it's all sci-fi and sarcastic. the rhyme patterns are sick and interesting. he's being smart and sneaky and seems like he's still making fun of shit like hiphopdx. the beats are still his style but heavily expanded. he's continued to step up his composition game, and then the style has branched out in some electronic way towards the psychedelic rock shit he was always sampling. musically he's continued to grow and remain creative, which is at least what we can ask from a artist. no and it has nothing to do with Gang Starr or whatevr the fuck yall keep diatribing bout 'real hip hop'. y'all sound like a bunch of conspiracy theorists, u davinci code homos. yo this is futuristic rap music that u can play for someone who isn't an overgrown manchild.

  • drenaza

    absolute magic with sounds

  • Anonymous

    Horrible review, if you can call it that. R.A.P Music should have been a 5 and this a 4.5, you guys seriously think this is of the same quality as that horrible Termanology album?

  • chillin

    This is one of the worst reviews I've ever read in my entire life. It's not even a review...it's like mindless babble that says absolutely nothing. Get someone else to review this!! Me perhaps?

  • f

    this is the first time ive posted on this website.. I havent heard the album. This was a horrible review. Didn't tell me anything. Can i have a job on here please? Fucking bad form hiphopdx

  • eddie

    This guy didn't listen to the album. Clearly.. like at all. And its sad because this site seems to pride itself on upping every old fart, every old sounding group, elitist ball hugging back to 90s fucking record they can find. The guys a fucking pioneer, not only killing it lyrically put pushing the envelope in producing, STILL after rapping for about 20 years now. Do your fucking homework and show the guy respect.

  • davidfresh

    Not as good as R.A.P. Music; then again, not many things are. Also, horrible review.

  • sammy

    #controlsystem #TDE #BlackHippy Go get ab-souls new album. Support the movement. Realest music out right now.

  • bkstylz

    I feel like the reviewer didn't really listen to the album, procrastinated until right before the deadline and then turned in this piece of shit review

  • EL P

    This is perhaps one of the worst reviews i have ever read. Gangstarr? 2 completely different worlds, how can you possibly link those two in an article? How was this allowed? was this proof-read by other staff members? Slava, do something about this twit plz!! Classic. A career reformation ladies and gentlemen.

  • RC

    "sounds better if you can name most of the Gang Starr Foundation" What the fuck is that supposed to mean. This review didn't tell me shit.

  • ben

    And WHY THE FUCK is this not featured on the front page of the website??

  • Anonymous

    2nd round knockout for El Producto after last week Killer Mike RAP Music LP !!!!!!!! Most so called artists will never have this amount of good work in their entire career so support real Hip Hop and artistry

  • ben

    One of the WORST written reviews I've read in a while....this site is struggling hard since Andreas left

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, this was a horribly writen review, I agree with the rating, I'd of gave it a 4.5 personally but thats not the issue, the review itself is This is like rating a new movie and then talking about Goodfellas or The Terminator for the majority of the review. Nobody cares about your take on Gang Starr & Big Shug, talk about the album your reviewing This whole shit was amature night

  • ps

    I am expecting hhdx review fail on that magnificent LP, low score (it's 4.5-5.0) and 3 paragraphs where only 5 lines actually talk about music

  • G$

    ALBUM OF THE YEAR 4.5/5 HHDX: You Failed to take full notice of its greatness; yall should have been bolder and gave this a 4.5. Its easily merited. Critics need to stop holding even a little bit of didain, no matter how subliminal it is presented, toward Albums simply b/c they sound as if they're "elitist" oriented (or whatever the fuck that's supposed to mean). Timeless music is what it is. I'd honestly say this is the best Hip-Hop since Celph Titled's "Nineteen Ninety Now." Guess I shouldn't complain that much tho but still.... This is better than Control System (which was also great)!!

  • smack

    genius album.his lyrics are on point and concepts are cool. album is incredibly well mixed. production is better in some ways than r.a.p. music, but not as well rounded. is this reviewer new?

  • live

    what an ignorant, incomplete, biased and just plain stupid review. Didn't mention hardly anything about the album. And all that gangstarr, big shug shit- what? this reviewer has an issue with el-p and the review is way too short and basically conspires to downplay the amazing album and make el-p sound weird.

    • @Hodgarama

      Why are you screaming?

    • Hodgarama

      I THINK HE MEANS TAHT RAP NERD AS A GOOD THING I READ IT THAT WAY. DONT HATE ON GURU AND GANG STARR THE ALBUM BANGS EVEN THOUGH I DONT UNDERSTAND MOST OF THE WORDS IF OYU DONT RESPECT G RAP THEN YOU SHOUDL NOT BE LISTENING TO THIS MUSIC!!!!!

  • ps

    Cancer for Care potentional best hip hop LP in 2012

  • Anonymous

    EL-P dropped 2 back to back bangers in as many weeks, lol I'm inclined to pick R.A.P music over this just because I like Mike better as an MC but EL-P did his thing on this Rating this a high 4/5

  • interesting

    Timmm's right.

  • timmm

    I'm still trying to process this album like when I'll Sleep When You're Dead came out...that disc took me quite a few spins to realize how just how good it really was. Music that takes time to sink in is a sign of quality. No rating just yet for me

  • Xeno

    2 dope albums in as many weeks. Nice work El-P!